Do you really know what's in your coffee?​

coffeeDo you mock hot dog lovers for chowing down on mystery meat? Well, even if you pride yourself on being a green smoothie-drinking, salad-loving, clean-eating poster child, you may be shocked to discover that you, too, are unwittingly consuming some dubious substances--and, worst of all, they're lingering in your cup of coffee! Say what? Well, it turns out some coffee companies are trying to compensate for their decreased coffee output by adding fillers like brown sugar, corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, rice, acai seeds, and even sticks to their coffee batches, grinding up all of the ingredients before packaging the finely milled substance. 

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Though most of the known ingredients used as fillers are perfectly harmless, there are some potentially alarming additions--chief among them soy beans and wheat, which top the list of food allergens listed by the FDA. With gluten allergies on the rise in the United States, it's troubling to think these ingredients may be lurking in foods and beverages without the public's knowledge. If you grapple with Celiac disease, then, you may want to steer clear of pre-packaged coffee and, instead, buy coffee beans that you can roast at home, thereby monitoring the entire process and ensuring no foreign substances seep into your cup of jo.

Otherwise, the "ick" factor of this revelation notwithstanding, there isn't too much cause for concern on the health front. And, if it eases your mind, Brazilian researchers are working on a process that will hopefully curb the existence of counterfeit coffee. They hope to employ liquid chromatography, which allows researchers to identify the different elements in a liquid, in order to determine what impurities lurk in each batch of coffee. If this test detects a significant number of impurities, researchers will know that these elements didn't simply slip through during the sorting process but, rather, were deliberately used to offset a modest batch and ensure companies' bottom lines weren't affected.

Personally, short of finding out there were millions of milled cockroaches in my coffee grounds, I can't imagine anything compelling me to abandon coffee from my everyday routine. 

Image Via Corbis

Topics: coffee  health  allergy  gluten free